Where Did The Name Tasmanian Devil Come From? (The Truth Is In The Name)

The Tasmanian Devil is a very interesting name, and it is very common to question where this animal gets its name from. This name comes from the early European settlers.

Where Did The Name Tasmanian Devil Come From? (The Truth Is In The Name)

They heard the sounds from the bush that this animal makes, which consist of coughs, growls, and screams. 

Upon hearing this, they searched for these animals and they found dog-like creatures that have red ears, big sharp teeth and wide jaws. They look very threatening and they have a very terrifying scream.

They started to refer to these animals as The Devil, which led them to their name.

Where Did The Name Come From?

Tasmanian Devils get their name from the European settlers that settled in Tasmania. They discovered these animals in the bush that had very unearthly screams.

These animals have red ears and very sharp teeth so when they scream they resemble the devil and look very threatening.

People began referring to these animals as The Devil, which then led to them getting their name. 

What Is A Tasmanian Devil?

The Tasmanian Devil is a very successful carnivorous marsupial. These animals are the world’s largest surviving animal.

They have a very thick-set build, a very short tail and a large head. They look similar to a dog, but they are not the same.

The fur on a Tasmanian devil is black, however they do sometimes have white markings on their bodies in certain places. 

Tasmanian devils vary a lot in size. This is dependent on where they live, their habitat and their diet. On average, adult males are around 30 cm tall and 12 kg in weight. The males are much bigger than the females. 

Tasmanian devils usually live up to six years in the wild, but they can live a lot longer than this in captivity.

History Of The Tasmanian Devil

Evidence has been found that suggests that Tasmanian Devils once lived in mainland Australia. This is because fossils have been found that show this. However, they have not lived on the mainland of Australia for over 3000 years. 

It is thought that these Devils did not survive on the mainland because of the spread of the dingo, which never entered Tasmania. 

Tasmanian Devils were a nuisance for the European settlers in Tasmania at first. They complained about these animals damaging the poultry yards.

In 1830, they became such a nuisance that there was a scheme put out that meant that people would pay for Tasmanian devils to be removed from the country. You would get 25 cents for a male devil and 35 cents for a female.

At this time, it became very commonplace for these animals to be poisoned and trapped. This happened so much that the animals were well on their way to becoming extinct. 

It wasn’t until 1941 that these Tasmanian devils became protected legally. However, in 1996 the Tasmanian devil became under threat of extinction again.

This time it wasn’t because of hunting, instead being caused by the Devil Facial Tumor Disease. 

What Is The Typical Behavior Of A Tasmanian Devil?

This animal is a nocturnal animal. They sleep during the day and are very active at nighttime. They roam for very long and considerable distances, as they are always on the lookout for food. They often roam as much as 16km away from their den. 

Tasmanian Devils can be very fast, and they are also very agile. They can climb trees. They do all of this to find food and hide from prey. 

Tasmanian devils are very strong swimmers. They are often found in or near water and have been seen often jumping and playing in the water. They use the water to stay cool as they live in very warm climates. 

Where Did The Name Tasmanian Devil Come From? (The Truth Is In The Name)

Tasmanian devils are very well known for their yawn that looks very scary and earnt them their name. However, while a lot of people believe that this is a threatening move, it is actually performed due to fear rather than aggressive behavior. 

These animals are very noisy and they have a lot of different noises that are known to be from them. They often snarl, screech and cough.

Often, if these animals make a high-pitched noise it is when they are challenging other Tasmanian devils. This will often occur before a fight or when they are laying their claim to a carcass that they have found.

What Habitat Does The Tasmanian Devil Live In?

You will find Tasmanian Devils all over Tasmania. They can live in lots of different habitats, ranging from the coastland to the mountainous areas. They live in rainforests and coastal heathland. 

What Do Tasmanian Devils Eat?

Tasmanian Devils are scavengers. They will eat whatever is available to them. They have very strong teeth and so they can eat anything that they get their hands on and they are able to bite through bones. 

Tasmanian Devils particularly like to eat possums, wombats and wallabies. They will also eat mammals and birds. 

They are not afraid to eat anything, and have been known to also eat reptiles and other animals.

They are good for the areas as they clean up any carcasses that have been left behind. They also reduce the amount of food that there is available for maggots to get.

Breeding Among Tasmanian Devils 

These animals usually mate somewhere between February and May. They have a fairly short gestation period, lasting only 21 days. After this, 40 of the animals are born, but only four will survive. 

As only four survive, this is down to survival of the fittest. Whichever animals can reach the mother’s pouch first will survive, and the mother only has four teats from which to feed from. 

The Tasmanian Devils young will stay in the pouch for around four months, until they are strong enough to survive on their own.

When they leave the pouch, they will live in a den until they are strong enough to venture out of the den. They will stop feeding from the mother at around 10 months old. 

These animals will then venture off on their own, and they will begin breeding themselves around the second year. They can sometimes start breeding even earlier than this.

Are Tasmanian Devils Endangered?

In the past, Tasmanian Devils were hunted because they were seen as a pest. However, these animals became protected along the way as they became endangered.

Now, these animals are at risk because of the Devil Facial Tumor Disease which is found across Tasmania and poses a significant threat to these animals. Due to these factors, Tasmanian devils are now very much protected.

These animals are now on all of the lists across the country and the world as Endangered. They cannot be hunted or harmed in any way as this is against the law.

Final Thoughts

The Tasmanian Devil gets its name from early European settlers in Tasmania. Its name comes from the way that these animals look, as they became known as The Devil in the area.

They have very unearthly screams, red ears and sharp teeth which made people think of them as devils.

Olivia Kepner